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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

ESPN NY: Source: MLB investigates A-Rod

“We’re talking to people involved in the investigation and we’re taking this very seriously,” said an MLB executive who spoke to ESPNNewYork.com on condition of anonymity. “Because he had been warned about this before, I would say a possible suspension would be very much in play.”

The allegations, first published by RadarOnline.com, are that the New York Yankees third baseman played in at least two of the games, one of which took place at the Beverly Hills mansion of a record executive at which “cocaine was openly used and a fight nearly broke out when one of the players refused to pay after losing “more than a half-million dollars.”

It is anonymously sourced, and it does not sound like A-Rod did much more than play poker—but since it is A-Rod, by all means, please pile on.

Srul Itza Posted: August 03, 2011 at 07:48 PM | 63 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Dale Sams Posted: August 03, 2011 at 09:18 PM (#3892079)
As I said elsewhere:

A-Rod should resign from baseball, and try and play for the Chicago Bulls for a year. Then he can return and win another ring.
   2. valuearbitrageur Posted: August 03, 2011 at 09:21 PM (#3892083)
Shouldn't home games be illegal before the MLB starts "investigating"?

In many states you can legally play poker in home games for any stakes you want. Typically games that are "illegal" are the ones where the house rakes the pot, or takes fees from the players. Even if A-Rod played in one of these, he wasn't breaking the law, the organisers were.

And the radaronline hollywood home games reporting has been beyond LOL. They have Tobey McGuire making tens of millions because he once won a hundred grand in a game, and so if he played every day for 3 years, OMG Tobey McGuire won $50M!

If I was A-Rod, I'd tell MLB investigators to go suck a dick.
   3. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 03, 2011 at 09:22 PM (#3892085)
The "MLB executive" quoted herein, assuming he exists, sounds like he has a serious chip on his shoulder about ARod.
   4. Dan The Mediocre Posted: August 03, 2011 at 09:29 PM (#3892093)
Recently, it was revealed that Rodriguez still employs his cousin, Yuri Sucart, after fingering him as the "mule" who transported his performance-enhancing drugs in 2003 after his steroid usage was revealed in a 2009 Sports Illustrated story, despite being told by the Yankees that Sucart would no longer be allowed in the clubhouse and encouraged to keep his distance from him.

"You get the feeling that Alex says what he thinks he needs to say to get by, and then goes out and does what he wants," the MLB executive said.


You know what's a smart business decision? Asking a guy to smuggle steroids, name him as the mule when you confess, and then stop employing him after all this damage has been done to him.
   5. Something Other Posted: August 03, 2011 at 09:31 PM (#3892095)
Hang on--can I get in on one of these games that lets someone run their credit past half a million dollars?

Agree with post 2--is there some obscure provision that compels players to cooperate in every half-assed investigation MLB decides to run? I'd start by having my lawyer say, "tell me why my client HAS to talk to you".
   6. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 03, 2011 at 09:32 PM (#3892097)
Anyway, does anyone know which rule prohibits ARod from playing in a high stakes poker game? A quick glance at Major League Rule 21 doesn't seem to cover it, except for perhaps the catch-all in (f), although that is governed by precedent.

Rule 21
MISCONDUCT

(a) MISCONDUCT IN PLAYING BASEBALL. Any player or person connected with a
club who shall promise or agree to lose, or to attempt to lose, or to fail
to give his best efforts towards the winning of any baseball game with
which he is or may be in any way concerned; or who shall intentionally
fail to give his best efforts towards the winning of any such baseball
game, or who shall solicit or attempt to induce any player or person
connected with a club to lose, or attempt to lose, or to fail to give his
best efforts towards the winning of any baseball game with which such
other player or person is or may be in any way connected; or who, being
solicited by any person, shall fail to inform his Major League President
and the Commissioner.

(b) GIFT FOR DEFEATING COMPETING CLUB. Any player or person connected
with a club who shall offer or give any gift or reward to a player or
person connected with another club for services rendered or supposed to
be or to have been rendered in defeating or attempting to defeat a
competing club, and any player or person connected with a club who
shall solicit or accept from a player connected with another club any
gifts or reward for any such services rendered, or supposed to have
been rendered, or who having been offered any such gift or reward,
shall fail to inform his League President or the Commissioner
immediately of such offer, and of all facts and circumstances therewith,
shall be declared ineligible for not less than three (3) years.

(c) GIFTS TO UMPIRES Any player or person connected with a club, who
shall give, or offer to give, any gift or reward to an umpire for services
rendered, or supposed to be or to have been rendered, in defeating or
attempting to defeat a competing club, or for the umpire's decision on
anything connected with the playing of a baseball game; and any umpire
who shall render, or promise or agree to render, any such decision
otherwise than on its merits, or who shall solicit or accept such gifts
or reward, or having been solicited to render any such decision
otherwise than on its merits, shall fail to inform the League President
or the Commissioner immediately of such offer or solicitation, and all
facts and circumstances therewith, shall be declared permanently ineligible.

(d) BETTING ON BALL GAMES. Any player, umpire, or club official or
employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in
connection with which the bettor has no duty to perform shall be declared
ineligible for one year.

Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall
bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which
the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible.

(e) VIOLENCE OR MISCONDUCT IN INTERLEAGUE GAMES. In case of any physical
attack or other violence upon an umpire by a player, or by an umpire upon
a player, or of other misconduct by an umpire or a player, during or in
connection with any interleague Major League game or any exhibition game
of a Major League Club with a club or team not a member of the same league,
the Commissioner shall impose upon the offender or offenders such fine,
suspension, ineligibility or other penalty, as the facts may warrant in
the judgement of the Commissioner.

(f) OTHER MISCONDUCT. Nothing herein contained shall be construed as
exclusively defining or otherwise limiting acts, transactions, practices
or conduct not to be in the best interests of Baseball; and any and all
other acts, transactions, practices or conduct not to be in the best
interests of Baseball are prohibited and shall be subject to such
penalties, including permanent ineligibility, as the facts in the
particular case may warrant.

(g) RULE TO BE KEPT POSTED. A printed copy of this Rule shall be kept
posted in each clubhouse.
   7. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: August 03, 2011 at 09:34 PM (#3892099)
Shouldn't home games be illegal before the MLB starts "investigating"?


IANAL but that seems backwards. Doesn't the investigation determine if what took place was or was not illegal/against the rules?
   8. Nasty Nate Posted: August 03, 2011 at 09:35 PM (#3892105)
He though he won with Ace-high, but Micah Hoffpauir.
   9. Sam M. Posted: August 03, 2011 at 09:40 PM (#3892111)
Shouldn't home games be illegal before the MLB starts "investigating"?


Um, no. MLB should start investigating to determine the nature of the games, and thus determine whether they were (a) illegal or (b) raise serious concerns about exposing a major league baseball player to the influence of or coercive pressure from gamblers. The latter could arise either because of debts the player owes, or because of the threat of public exposure he is involved in activities in which he's not supposed to be engaged.

The "MLB executive" quoted herein, assuming he exists, sounds like he has a serious chip on his shoulder about ARod.


First of all, anyone who doesn't have a "serious chip on his shoulder about A-Rod" has some 'splainin to do.

But putting that aside, I don't read chippiness in that quote. I get "we ain't kidding around" with this. And they shouldn't be. Gambling and baseball are a dangerous mix, and if A-Rod has been sent that message before and didn't listen, MLB should come down. Hard. That's a big "if," and that's why they need to investigate. I hope it's all smoke and no fire. But if there's fire to it, A-Rod should get burned, big-time.
   10. valuearbitrageur Posted: August 03, 2011 at 09:43 PM (#3892114)
You know what a good family member does? Ask a cousin to smuggle steroids, name him as the mule when you confess, and then stop employing him after all this damage has been done to him.


OMG, A-Rod is bad because he's not mean enough to his cousin.

IANAL but that seems backwards. Doesn't the investigation determine if what took place was or was not illegal/against the rules?


The point is it's pretty easy to determine that the area is extremely gray here and unprovable. Previously was bad enough, it was in NYC poker rooms, which have been around forever, are semi-legalized through law enforcement winking, as immortalized in the film "Rounders", etc.

But now it's "home games"? The investigator needs to show that A-Rod played in a house game that violated CA law. He has to prove A-rod was there, gambled, that the house took some sort of rake, and most importantly, that A-rod was aware of it. If you skip the last part, virtually every single MLB player is in violation of this "policy". They play cards in the clubhouse, on the plane, in the hotel rooms, at their homes, etc. Now before A-Rod goes to play at someones house, he's supposed to get signed and witnessed statements from the home owner that the game will be run according to all state laws and regulations?

This is just about Bud being Dud all over again.
   11. valuearbitrageur Posted: August 03, 2011 at 09:45 PM (#3892119)
BTW, I play mid-high stakes with a professional hockey player occasionally. He's not a bad player and I asked him if he played during the season. He said, yes, basically constantly with his team-mates every road trip.

And yes, he did very well.

But putting that aside, I don't read chippiness in that quote. I get "we ain't kidding around" with this. And they shouldn't be. Gambling and baseball are a dangerous mix, and if A-Rod has been sent that message before and didn't listen, MLB should come down. Hard. That's a big "if," and that's why they need to investigate. I hope it's all smoke and no fire. But if there's fire to it, A-Rod should get burned, big-time.


They are concerned whether a guy who is making $28M per year, could be influenced by someone he owes a few thousand dollars to?

Hmm, alright.
   12. Dale Sams Posted: August 03, 2011 at 09:47 PM (#3892120)
As Ray said...I would assume Bud has the power to suspend just for 'bringing disrepute' to the game. The NFL commisioner suspended Ben R. for 1/4th season didn't he? And as far as I know or can tell, Ben did nothing illegal.
   13. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 03, 2011 at 09:48 PM (#3892121)
"You get the feeling that Alex says what he thinks he needs to say to get by, and then goes out and does what he wants," the MLB executive said.


shocking
   14. Ron J Posted: August 03, 2011 at 09:49 PM (#3892122)
#6 Ray it's plausible that they could use the Durocher precedent -- depending on who was involved.

Similarly the logic of the Vida Blue arbitration case (where the arbitrator permitted a year long suspension of Blue because he was dealing to teammates -- or at least that's how I parsed it)

On the recreational drugs aspect of it, MLB would have certain rights based on the arbitration rulings that came out of the Curtis Strong affair. Not least of which is the right to on demand testing for the remainder of ARod's career.

This all assumes that you can establish that something happened to an arbitrator's satisfaction.

Worth noting that Rogers Hornsby attracted Landis' attention by not paying a gambling debt. But Landis came to the conclusion that nothing in the whole affair broke any of baseball's rules. He did admonish Hornsby but no penalties were attached (and I doubt Hornsby cared -- he had a pretty thick skin. Or at least operated on the principle that he was right and if anybody had any problems with his actions there were either stupid or crazy or both. And you don't need to be worried about what stupid and/or crazy people thought.)
   15. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 03, 2011 at 09:51 PM (#3892124)
First of all, anyone who doesn't have a "serious chip on his shoulder about A-Rod" has some 'splainin to do.

But putting that aside, I don't read chippiness in that quote. I get "we ain't kidding around" with this.


I was thinking of these quotes in particular:

"I could see us trying to pursue this a lot further," the executive said. "The truth is still out there somewhere."

"You get the feeling that Alex says what he thinks he needs to say to get by, and then goes out and does what he wants," the MLB executive said.
   16. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 03, 2011 at 09:53 PM (#3892126)
Thanks, Ron.
   17. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: August 03, 2011 at 09:54 PM (#3892127)
FTFA:
In 2005, Rodriguez had been warned about gambling in underground poker clubs by the Yankees and by baseball commissioner Bud Selig, both of whom were concerned that possible involvement with gamblers who might be betting on baseball games could result in a Pete Rose-type lifetime ban from baseball.


What a joke. He was warned about something that is not forbidden by MLB rules because it MAY lead to being banned from baseball and now Bud is grumpy because A-Rod didn't take his advice. Did Bud put A-Rod on double-secret probation too?
   18. SteveF Posted: August 03, 2011 at 09:54 PM (#3892128)
Basically the authority is via the MLB Constitution which is incorporated into the CBA by reference.

Sec. 2. The functions of the Commissioner shall include:

(b) To investigate, either upon complaint or upon the Commissioner’s own initiative, any act, transaction or practice charged, alleged or suspected to be not in the best interests of the national game of Baseball, with authority to summon persons and to order the production of documents, and, in case of refusal to appear or produce, to impose such penalties as are hereinafter provided.

(c) To determine, after investigation, what preventive, remedial or punitive action is appropriate in the premises, and to take such action either against Major League Clubs or individuals, as the case may be.

...

Sec. 3. In the case of conduct by Major League Clubs, owners, officers, employees or players that is deemed by the Commissioner not to be in the best interests of Baseball, punitive action by the Commissioner for each offense may include any one or more of the following:

(a) a reprimand; (b) deprivation of a Major League Club of representation in Major League Meetings; (c) suspension or removal of any owner, officer or employee of a Major League Club; (d) temporary or permanent ineligibility of a player; (e) a fine, not to exceed $2,000,000 in the case of a Major League Club, not to exceed $500,000 in the case of an owner, officer or employee, and in an amount consistent with the then-current Basic Agreement with the Major League Baseball Players Association, in the case of a player; (f) loss of the benefit of any or all of the Major League Rules, including but not limited to the denial or transfer of player selection rights provided by Major League Rules 4 and 5; and (g) such other actions as the Commissioner may deem appropriate.

...

Sec. 4. Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 2, above, the Commissioner shall take no action in the best interests of Baseball that requires the Clubs to take, or to refrain from taking, action (by vote, agreement or otherwise) on any of the matters requiring a vote of the Clubs at a Major League Meeting that are set forth in Article II, Section 9 or in Article V, Section 2(a) or (b); provided, however, that nothing in this Section 4 shall limit the Commissioner's authority to act on any matter that involves the integrity of, or public confidence in, the national game of Baseball. Integrity shall include without limitation, as determined by the Commissioner, the ability of, and the public perception that, players and Clubs perform and compete at all times to the best of their abilities. Public confidence shall include without limitation the public perception, as determined by the Commissioner, that there is an appropriate level of long-term competitive balance among Clubs.


The authority is fairly broad. Essentially, if MLB views your action as having compromised the integrity of the game, then they can bend you over a barrel and Goodellize/Sternify your ass.

Of course the big question is what can qualify as compromising the integrity of the game.
   19. Sam M. Posted: August 03, 2011 at 09:56 PM (#3892130)
They are concerned whether a guy who is making $28M per year, could be influenced by someone he owes a few thousand dollars to?

Hmm, alright.


As I said, there are two parts to the potential for a gambler gaining influence: debts the player can't pay, and information the player doesn't want disclosed. As for the debt part, not all players are A-Rod making $20+M per year, so the Commissioner is rightly concerned about having a rule that protects the game, not one that creates one standard for the superstars and one rule for the minimum salary guys.

But I guess you're right. Bud & Co. should just ignore reports that any really rich player is playing high-stakes poker or otherwise gambling. That's not a potential problem/concern for MLB at all. I can't even imagine how that could lead us down a path where, a decade from now, we're in a complete cesspool of corruption infesting the game.
   20. Ron J Posted: August 03, 2011 at 09:57 PM (#3892135)
#12 Doubtful. Bowie Kuhn lost a long series of arbitration hearing where he assumed he had the powers you've cited.

Some comments by a former arbitrator on the subject of discipline: (the last sentence is important)

"Normally, off-duty conduct is the business of the employer only under certain limited circumstances - when it can be shown by credible evidence that the conduct directly injures the product or reputation of the business, where fellow workers reasonably refuse to work with the alleged miscreant, where the behavior renders the employee unable to perform his duties or appear at work, like being in jail, or where the conduct clearly breaches an employee's duty of loyalty to the employer.

All of this, sometimes referred to as the "vital nexus" requirement, recognizes that employers are not the guardians of the public weal or the ultimate censor of their employees' off-premises behavior, nor are they society's chosen enforcers."

And of particular import later on:

"employers of athletes should be held to the same standard as other employers - prudent, responsible decision-making considerate of all the circumstances. Some may say that I have held the Commissioner to a higher standard than that of an ordinary employer. The fact is that a Commissioner is not an employer, at least of players or managers, even though some Commissioners think they are. As stated in Howe: (where he found Vincent's ruling "fundamentally unfair" --RNJ)

what bears repeating... is that the Commissioner does not stand in the isolated position of an individual employer. He can bar the employment of a player at any level of the game regardless of the opinion or wishes of any one of a great number of potential employers. That is an awesome power. With it comes a heavy responsibility, especially when that power is exercised unilaterally and not as the result of a collectively bargained agreement as to the level of sanctions to be imposed for particular actions."

EDIT: Arbitrators have consistently taken a very, very narrow narrow view of the powers granted in the sections referred to in #18. MLB invoked "integrity of the game" in all of the drug related hearings. Cut no ice in matters as serious as LaMarr Hoyt (and there were a few other where players were arrested and even imprisoned).

Unless it's somehow directly affecting the team.

Now if there were people there associated with organized crime -- well then as I say there's the Durocher precedent. No way to know how an arbitrator would react.
   21. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 03, 2011 at 10:05 PM (#3892144)
BTW, I play mid-high stakes with a professional hockey player occasionally. He's not a bad player and I asked him if he played during the season. He said, yes, basically constantly with his team-mates every road trip.

FWIW a close friend of mine has played fairly high stakes poker just outside of Baltimore for quite a few years with a regular group that often includes the Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps. I doubt if he's going to run into any trouble, however, since according to my friend Phelps plays on a pretty high level and on balance is probably a winner.

The funniest part about it is that my friend loves to drop Phelps' name around young women, just to see their reaction. Not that it would ever serve as much of a pickup line for my friend, however, since he looks like a wasted and wheezing version of Danny DeVito and his sex life has usually been confined to hookers.
   22. Dale Sams Posted: August 03, 2011 at 10:08 PM (#3892147)
Very interesting stuff Ron. What cases were these? These wern't the 'working as a greeter at a casino' bans were they?

Is this even Selig's call? I'm not aware of him ever personally handing down a suspension. I do find it interesting he can declare a mid-season exhibition game a tie and nullify a rule because he wants to. (When he declared he wouldn't let a World Series game end early due to rain, before there was a rule on such things)..but he wouldn't be able to hand down a suspension in a case like this?
   23. Srul Itza Posted: August 03, 2011 at 10:10 PM (#3892150)
Basically the authority is via the MLB Constitution which is incorporated into the CBA by reference.


My understanding was that the CBA also limited the power of the commissioner to discipline players under the "best interests" provision, because the players (rightly) view the commissioner, not as a neutral party, but as the representative of the owner, and they were not going to cede that kind of vague and arbitrary power to the Owners.
   24. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 03, 2011 at 10:10 PM (#3892151)
What a joke. He was warned about something that is not forbidden by MLB rules because it MAY lead to being banned from baseball and now Bud is grumpy because A-Rod didn't take his advice. Did Bud put A-Rod on double-secret probation too?

You missed the point. The quote you cited indicated suspicion that the games (or the financing of the games) involved people who bet on baseball games.

If A-Rod owes six or seven figures to guys who bet on baseball games -- or if there are reasons to suspect he might -- the reason for further investigation is obvious.
   25. salajander Posted: August 03, 2011 at 10:12 PM (#3892154)
Bud & Co. should just ignore reports that any really rich player is playing high-stakes poker or otherwise gambling.


... you mean like happens on every single road trip?

If there's evidence he's tied up with loan sharks and others trying to influence him in baseball, sure. If he's just playing cards? I don't give a ####, honestly, no matter the stakes.
   26. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: August 03, 2011 at 10:17 PM (#3892158)
If I was A-Rod, I'd tell MLB investigators to go suck a dick.


Better yet...
   27. Swedish Chef Posted: August 03, 2011 at 10:23 PM (#3892161)
But I guess you're right. Bud & Co. should just ignore reports that any really rich player is playing high-stakes poker or otherwise gambling. That's not a potential problem/concern for MLB at all. I can't even imagine how that could lead us down a path where, a decade from now, we're in a complete cesspool of corruption infesting the game.

So, suspend them all, there is nothing that suggests that A-Rod is doing anything out of the ordinary.
   28. Eddo Posted: August 03, 2011 at 10:25 PM (#3892164)
Um, no. MLB should start investigating to determine the nature of the games, and thus determine whether they were (a) illegal or (b) raise serious concerns about exposing a major league baseball player to the influence of or coercive pressure from gamblers. The latter could arise either because of debts the player owes, or because of the threat of public exposure he is involved in activities in which he's not supposed to be engaged.

I agree with this. There's nothing wrong with the investigation. Worst case, it uncovers such coercion, and MLB winds up with another gambling scandal; best case, it uncovers nothing and Rodriguez and clears his name.
   29. SteveF Posted: August 03, 2011 at 10:25 PM (#3892165)
My understanding was that the CBA also limited the power of the commissioner to discipline players under the "best interests" provision, because the players (rightly) view the commissioner, not as a neutral party, but as the representative of the owner, and they were not going to cede that kind of vague and arbitrary power to the Owners.

You might be right. My understanding is that if what you've done is deemed to violate the integrity of the game (by the arbitrator), the Commissioner essentially becomes the arbitrator.

From the CBA:

'Grievance' shall not mean a complaint which involves action taken with respect to a Player or Players by the Commissioner involving the preservation of the integrity of, or the maintenance of public confidence in, the game of baseball ... In the event a matter filed as a Grievance in accordance with the procedure hereinafter provided in Section B gives rise to issues involving the integrity of, or public confidence in, the game of baseball, the Commissioner may, at any stage of its processing, order that the matter be withdrawn from such procedure and thereafter be processed in accordance with the procedure provided above in this subparagraph (b). The order of the Commissioner withdrawing such matter shall constitute a final determination of the procedure to be followed for the exclusive and complete disposition of such matter, and such order shall have the same effect as a Grievance decision of the Arbitration Panel (Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association, 2006).

Once the arbitrator actually agrees that what has occurred has in fact compromised the public perception of the integrity of the game, arbitration effectively ends and the Commissioner can do whatever he wants to you.
   30. Sam M. Posted: August 03, 2011 at 10:25 PM (#3892166)
You know, all this advice (# 2 & # 26) you want A-Rod to give might not work if the investigators play for my team . . . .

As for this:

If there's evidence he's tied up with loan sharks and others trying to influence him in baseball, sure. If he's just playing cards? I don't give a ####, honestly, no matter the stakes.


That's kind of the point of an investigation. If there's any point at all in having investigators in a game with MLB's history of having been shaken by gambling and a WS having been thrown, it surely must be to take seriously even the possibility that a player might be getting involved in situations that could lead to the game be compromised. All I'm saying here is that it is 100% justified for MLB to investigate further, upon reports of high-stakes gambling by a high-profile player, under circumstances that (a) might (MIGHT) have been illegal, and/or (b) might (MIGHT) have involved participants -- in one way or another -- who were also gambling on baseball.

Hell, it would be a gross dereliction of duty by the Commissioner not to investigate under these circumstance, if for no other reason then to send the message that MLB does continue to take the potential for this as a problem seriously, and that when questions arise they will be answered. If it's just A-Rod playing poker, then fine. It's just A-Rod playing poker. Why any of you have such confidence in A-Rod's ability not to get involved with playing for lots of money with people he shouldn't have been playing with, I have no idea -- but hey, maybe you're right. Only investigation can make certain.
   31. Mash Wilson Posted: August 03, 2011 at 10:34 PM (#3892172)
Investigating is fine, expected, and normal.

It's the fact someone thought the press should know that there's an investigation that is interesting.
   32. BDC Posted: August 03, 2011 at 10:35 PM (#3892174)
'working as a greeter at a casino' bans

IOW the 1983 bans of Mantle and Mays for taking perfectly legal public jobs at perfectly legal casinos. These were not overturned while Kuhn was commissioner; it took Peter Ueberroth and a grain of common sense to do that. Times were different though; as Srul points out, the commissioner in Kuhn's day had more independent authority. And players (and spring-training-instructors or whatever Mantle and Mays were or might have contemplated becoming) are more savvy nowadays about the appearance of impropriety, which if avoided covers a multitude of more private sins. I tend to agree with Sam M – if AROD possibly has a gambling problem the magnitude of Rose's (or Jordan's, which was never really plumbed by the NBA AFAIK), then it needs looking into. Maybe he's just a card-player, and maybe he's an idiot. You don't need to be in hock to high-rollers to behave inappropriately: you can do the same by chumming around with them, exerting an influence over sports books, etc. The Durocher suspension (essentially for consorting privately with shady characters) was perhaps applied arbitrarily, but was not in itself an unreasonable action.
   33. SteveF Posted: August 03, 2011 at 10:36 PM (#3892175)
It's the fact someone thought the press should know that there's an investigation that is interesting.


You misspelled inevitable.
   34. Dale Sams Posted: August 03, 2011 at 10:42 PM (#3892177)
Why do I have this image of Alex as Nick Nolte at the end of North Dallas Forty?

[INT.]

ARod: Is that what this is about? My contract? Well screw the contract! I quit!

[EXT.]

Derek Jeter is waiting for Arod. Jeter is tossing a baseball to himself.

ARod: You knew about this didn't you? You know everything.

Jeter: That I do Poot. That I do.
   35. Mash Wilson Posted: August 03, 2011 at 10:43 PM (#3892179)
Steve: I laughed.

As for your point, I wonder whether that's true or whether eighty percent of investigations into personal conduct of ballplayers are quietly wrapped up and never brought to light.
   36. SteveF Posted: August 03, 2011 at 10:50 PM (#3892184)
As for your point, I wonder whether that's true or whether eighty percent of investigations into personal conduct of ballplayers are quietly wrapped up and never brought to light.


It's purely a function of the number of people that know and the degree of professional integrity of those people. Which way you come down depends on either your degree of faith in humanity or your degree of idiocy, depending on whether you see the glass as half full or the glass as irretrievably stupid.

(To clarify, you are either a person who choose to put faith in humanity, or you are a person who thinks the people who put faith in humanity are naive. I'm really not trying to make a judgment either way, so don't take what I said as an insult!)
   37. valuearbitrageur Posted: August 03, 2011 at 10:52 PM (#3892186)
You missed the point. The quote you cited indicated suspicion that the games (or the financing of the games) involved people who bet on baseball games.


Let's make sure that it's clear that you made this up.

The idea that people who bet on games would be in the vicinity was used five years ago to warn him in his prior poker player,, which is far different than what you wrote.

And of course MLB players and execs frequent Las Vegas casinos on a regular basis, where they rub shoulders with (OMG!) people who frequent the casino sports book and bet on baseball games.

If A-Rod owes six or seven figures to guys who bet on baseball games -- or if there are reasons to suspect he might -- the reason for further investigation is obvious.


If it's alleged he owes anyone significant sums, sure. But it hasn't been alleged he owes anyone anything or lost any significant sums doing what the majority of MLB employees due in their spare time, gamble. I'm guessing if any owner owes gambling debts, the commissioner is going to go a little easier.

As I said, there are two parts to the potential for a gambler gaining influence: debts the player can't pay, and information the player doesn't want disclosed. As for the debt part, not all players are A-Rod making $20+M per year, so the Commissioner is rightly concerned about having a rule that protects the game, not one that creates one standard for the superstars and one rule for the minimum salary guys.

But I guess you're right. Bud & Co. should just ignore reports that any really rich player is playing high-stakes poker or otherwise gambling. That's not a potential problem/concern for MLB at all. I can't even imagine how that could lead us down a path where, a decade from now, we're in a complete cesspool of corruption infesting the game.


Shouldn't he have to wait until something is alleged that would violate that rule? Like A-rod being in debt, like A-Rod losing more than pocket change in a game, like A-Rod doing something in a private game that he doesn't legally and publicly due in Las Vegas Casinos, on a regular basis allegedly, according to friends of mine?

The point is the news story is that A-Rod gambled for trival sums, and paid up. If that's all that it takes to investigate, the MLB should have 80% of the players under constant investigation. That is, of course, unless they are singling out one player and ignoring the rest.

Eventually the players association is going to tell Selig to suck a dick on this.
   38. Dan Evensen Posted: August 03, 2011 at 11:15 PM (#3892200)
I'm surprised that nobody has cited this from TFA:

Although baseball's investigation centers upon Rodriguez's card-playing and he is not thought to have gambled on the outcome of any baseball games, the fact that he may have disregarded Selig's warning is said to have angered the commissioner.

#37 is correct -- there is nothing in the article that insinuates that A-Rod gambled with people who bet on baseball games. Still, I can't make heads nor tails of the following sentence:

The idea that people who bet on games would be in the vicinity was used five years ago to warn him in his prior poker player,, which is far different than what you wrote.
   39. bobm Posted: August 03, 2011 at 11:21 PM (#3892206)
I do not see how MLB, without looking hypocritical, can take a hard stand on non-baseball gambling when casinos are among the most prominent in-stadium and TV sponsors and advertisers, and far more so than in years past, whether Native American casinos or Atlantic City/Vegas/publicly traded gaming company casinos.
   40. AJMcCringleberry Posted: August 03, 2011 at 11:26 PM (#3892209)
Maybe if ARod could sit at home and play poker he wouldn't need to go to these home games.
   41. Srul Itza Posted: August 03, 2011 at 11:40 PM (#3892215)
People are losing sight of one important fact --
this is A-Rod.

He should be investigated for shtupping Madonna

He should be investigated for that ferkochkta Centaur portrait.

He should be investigated just for being A-Rod.

After all of that, then they should investigate his gambling.

All in the best interests of baseball, of course.

By the way, what is the Yankees' record since he went out on the DL -- 15-7? .681?

Investigate him for that, too.
   42. cardsfanboy Posted: August 04, 2011 at 12:14 AM (#3892235)
I do not see how MLB, without looking hypocritical, can take a hard stand on non-baseball gambling when casinos are among the most prominent in-stadium and TV sponsors and advertisers, and far more so than in years past, whether Native American casinos or Atlantic City/Vegas/publicly traded gaming company casinos.


hypocrisy has never stopped anyone in power or with a pulpit.
   43. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 04, 2011 at 12:45 AM (#3892254)
I hate it when people like A-Rod and Albert Belle are investigated by MLB for gambling.
   44. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: August 04, 2011 at 01:20 AM (#3892293)
You get the feeling that Alex says what he thinks he needs to say to get by, and then goes out and does what he wants..



A stinging indictment of the human condition!
   45. rr Posted: August 04, 2011 at 01:22 AM (#3892294)
Why waste money and manpower on an investigation? Selig should just pull out the taser and take care of business.
   46. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 04, 2011 at 01:35 AM (#3892303)
Hang on--can I get in on one of these games that lets someone run their credit past half a million dollars?

Sure, no problem. You do have a guaranteed contract that pays you $30M a year, don't you?
   47. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 04, 2011 at 01:50 AM (#3892311)
My understanding was that the CBA also limited the power of the commissioner to discipline players under the "best interests" provision, because the players (rightly) view the commissioner, not as a neutral party, but as the representative of the owner, and they were not going to cede that kind of vague and arbitrary power to the Owners.
Correct. It used to be, pre Marvin Miller, that the commissioner could basically do whatever he wanted based on his "best interests" power, based on the myth that he was the impartial arbiter watching over the game. The players wouldn't stand for that -- but the owners wouldn't stand for the possibility that someone would throw games and an arbitrator would interfere with their ability to do something about it. So the compromise was, essentially, that the commissioner's unreviewable BIOB power would apply only to 'integrity of the game' matters; all other matters would be subject to grievance with a truly neutral arbiter. (Of course, that's a CBA provision, so it applies only to members of the MLBPA; thus, the commissioner could do what he wanted with Pete Rose, George Steinbrenner, or Mantle/Mays.)

EDIT: Or what SteveF posted in 29.
   48. Ron J Posted: August 04, 2011 at 02:33 AM (#3892341)
#22 Mostly the endless series of drug cases. LaMarr Hoyt and Pascual Perez come to mind.

It's not directly on topic when it comes to gambling, but Nicolau (the guy who wrote the article) is pretty clear that unless there's a specific agreement -- exact action, exact consequence -- the commissioner does not have the power to discipline the player unless MLB can make a case of direct damage.g

So Blue can be disciplined because his actions were directly harmful to other players.

Rocker's the interesting case. Surprised me in light of what was written by other arbitrators. I gather MLB managed to convince an arbitrator of the potential for financial damage (in terms of damaged image) if Rocker wasn't disciplined.
   49. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 04, 2011 at 04:30 AM (#3892397)
Folks should RTFA. No allegations of mob involvement or gambling on baseball, just playing poker with the likes of Matt Damon, Toby McGuire & assorted Hollywood types. That may be a poor use of anyone's time, but unless there is considerably more, MLB doesn't have much to squawk about. Of course, despite the endorsement by some here of a double-standard for A-Rod, any MLB investigation would eventually have to encompass all players involved in such pursuits, and I very much doubt that A-Rod is his sport's most frequent participant in California-based poker activities. But by all means, check it out.
   50. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: August 04, 2011 at 06:03 AM (#3892433)
Unless he starts playing with Andy Beal or flying off to play in Macau, I don't think a poker game exists that would be large enough to even dent Rodriguez's net worth. It seems really silly to worry about A-Rod playing poker with Matt Damon just because baseball has had gambling issues generations ago.

I think it's fine that MLB wants to make sure their players keep out of trouble, but it doesn't sound like there's anything here. Many millions of people play cards. Listening to talk radio on the way home tonight, the callers were making it sound like A-Rod was disgracing the game and committing crimes against humanity (I know I shouldn't expect better from talk radio). The stigma attached to poker and gambling really bothers me. I want to hate Rodriguez, so I don't like it when stories like this break and I end up feeling bad for him.

Also, I want in on these games. Anyone have Matt Damon's phone number?
   51. Greg K Posted: August 04, 2011 at 06:34 AM (#3892435)
they can bend you over a barrel and Goodellize/Sternify your ass.

I think the phrase you're looking for is, bend you over a barrel and show you the 50 states.

It's from the Great Gatsby.
   52. ptodd Posted: August 04, 2011 at 06:58 AM (#3892437)
A guy like A-Rod who has made 260 million and has 170 million coming, not to mention endorsements is a candidate to be influenced by gamblers. LOL

I guess it's A-Rods bank account that Bud thinks is not in the best interest of baseball (the owners). Tying up all those revenue sharing dollars you know.

He will probably schedule the vote for A-Rods punishment at the same time as McCourts vote to be ousted. Seems to me a gimmick to force the Yankees to vote the right way on McCourt or face a long A-Rod suspension. The smaller market teams vote anyway Bud says to make sure the revenue sharing dollars keep flowing.
   53. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: August 04, 2011 at 09:12 AM (#3892446)
No allegations of mob involvement or gambling on baseball, just playing poker with the likes of Matt Damon, Toby McGuire & assorted Hollywood types. That may be a poor use of anyone's time

No it's not. Matt Damon's a fish.
   54. God Posted: August 04, 2011 at 09:25 AM (#3892449)
Um, no. MLB should start investigating to determine the nature of the games, and thus determine whether they were (a) illegal or (b) raise serious concerns about exposing a major league baseball player to the influence of or coercive pressure from gamblers.

Yes. Gamblers like Tobey Maguire and Ben Affleck. We definitely don't want A-Rod exposed to coercive pressure from Ben Affleck. A-Rod's enough of a d-bag as it is.
   55. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: August 04, 2011 at 11:55 AM (#3892459)
But there were drugs at the poker game! DRUGGSSSS! Won't someone think of the children!
   56. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: August 04, 2011 at 12:58 PM (#3892482)
I can't believe someone presented a hockey player, as if this is ok.

This is a league that has players openly betting on the game FROM THE BENCH.
   57. Lassus Posted: August 04, 2011 at 01:08 PM (#3892493)
"I could see us trying to pursue this a lot further," the executive said. "The truth is still out there somewhere."

Why am I picturing this executive in a hotel room watching porn?
   58. BDC Posted: August 04, 2011 at 01:08 PM (#3892494)
A guy like A-Rod who has made 260 million and has 170 million coming, not to mention endorsements is a candidate to be influenced by gamblers. LOL

Well, Pete Rose was one of the highest-paid players of his generation. It's not so much that he's going to go into hock for a billion dollars and start throwing games for hoods who run a multi-billion dollar book somewhere. It's that he might be an idiot. Prima facie, I do think they should investigate the possibility that AROD might be an idiot :)
   59. Karl from NY Posted: August 04, 2011 at 02:08 PM (#3892549)
(Of course, that's a CBA provision, so it applies only to members of the MLBPA; thus, the commissioner could do what he wanted with Pete Rose)


Rose was kicked out of the MLBPA?
   60. Ron J Posted: August 04, 2011 at 02:32 PM (#3892575)
#59 No. He had retired by then. Provisions of the CBA only apply to active players.

The provisions of the CBA only apply to management (including coaches and managers) only to the extent that it impacts active players. For instance if the commission attempted to suspend somebody for a year (as he did with Pascual Perez for instance) and lost the arbitration hearing on the matter (as happened) he could not then institute an effective suspension by forbidding any club from signing him on pain of (say) losing draft picks.
   61. valuearbitrageur Posted: August 04, 2011 at 05:26 PM (#3892736)
I can't believe someone presented a hockey player, as if this is ok.

This is a league that has players openly betting on the game FROM THE BENCH.


It was just an example of what goes on with virtually every pro team in every sport.

Yes, baseball players also play a lot of poker on the team plane, in the club house, and at their homes. Many go to casinos. I played regularly with a certain relief pitcher for St. Louis over the last few years in a casino poker room.

Cliff Lee was a fixture in the biggest spread limit game at CasinoAZ in spring trainings before he was traded to a grapefruit league team.
   62. valuearbitrageur Posted: August 04, 2011 at 05:44 PM (#3892757)
BTW, the poker economy has taken a mighty hit recently with the wacky DOJ indictments of legal online poker sites. We want A-Rod in our games. We need A-Rod in our games.

My experience is that we don't want pitchers or catchers in our games. Two of the best players I play with regularly are former minor league pitchers.
   63. Something Other Posted: August 08, 2011 at 04:41 AM (#3895241)
But I guess you're right. Bud & Co. should just ignore reports that any really rich player is playing high-stakes poker or otherwise gambling. That's not a potential problem/concern for MLB at all. I can't even imagine how that could lead us down a path where, a decade from now, we're in a complete cesspool of corruption infesting the game.

So, suspend them all, there is nothing that suggests that A-Rod is doing anything out of the ordinary.
And, while we're at it, since I'll bet cheating on one's wife is a lot more common among ball players than running up debts multimillion dollar salaries can't handle, let's have MLB peer into players' personal lives. We don't want a guy with a mistress out there susceptible to blackmail in the form of throwing games, right?

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